Melody in F (The Prodigal Son)

I first heard this fun, frolicking, alliterative version of “The Parable of the Prodigal Son” back in the 1980’s when Jack Hayford read it out loud on his radio program. I was living in California at the time and really enjoyed Hayford’s preaching. I happened to tape the show and wrote the words down later. With Tim Keller’s new book about to be released (The Prodigal God), I thought it would be fun to unfurl it here. Be sure to read it out loud for maximum effect!

MELODY IN F – Author unknown (possibly Phil Kerr – see comments below)

Feeling footloose and frisky, a feather-brained fellow forced his fond father to fork over the farthings, and flew far to foreign fields and frittered his fortune feasting fabulously with faithless friends.

Fleeced by his fellows in folly, and facing famine, he found himself a feed flinger in a filthy farmyard. Fairly famishing, he fain would have filled his frame with foraged food from fodder fragments. “Fooey, my father’s flunkies fare far finer,” the frazzled fugitive forlornly fumbled, frankly facing facts.

Frustrated by failure, and filled with foreboding, he fled forthwith to his family. Falling at his father’s feet, he forlornly fumbled, “Father, I’ve flunked, and fruitlessly forfeited family favor.” The far-sighted father, forestalling further flinching, frantically flagged the flunkies to fetch a fatling from the flock and fix a feast.

The fugitive’s fault-finding brother frowned on fickle forgiveness of former folderol. But the faithful father figured, “Filial fidelity is fine, but the fugitive is found! What forbids fervent festivity? Let flags be un-furled! Let fanfares flare!” Father’s forgiveness formed the foundation for the former fugitive’s future fortitude.

Note: See Luke 15:11-32 for the original version.

Related post: Parable of the Prodigal Puppy


  1. Sharon Gamble says:

    Fascinating Faithbuilder for Forgiveness Facts

  2. Ray Fowler says:

    Fankyou very much!

  3. Kim I. Ellithorpe says:

    Original version of “Melody in F” is by Phil Kerr who wrote more than 1500 choruses.

    Thanks, Kim! – Ray Fowler

  4. EDWARD BILOW says:

    I concur with Kim, that the author is Phil Kerr. Decades ago I heard Jack Hayford read this at a church service where he pastored. I was so excited about it that I sought out a printed version of it, and underneath the title, “Melody in F”, it read, “by Phil Kerr”.

  5. EDWARD BILOW says:

    I think it would only be right to remove the words “author unknown”, and put Phil Kerr’s name up there, on your posting.

  6. Ray Fowler says:

    Edward – I just made a notation, thanks!

  7. Don Gowan says:

    Is it helpful to know that this is more than 60 years old? I have a copy that I made when I was in seminary, and I graduated in 1957.

  8. Ray Fowler says:

    Don – Wow, I had no idea it went back that far. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Patty Moffitt says:

    I have a newspaper clipping of this and it was published in a record album by Evangelist Tommy Stone in 1975. I think he is the original author of this .

  10. Chris Dexter says:

    I first heard this read by a pastor at a bible camp I was attending in around 1964. Thanks for writing the words down.

  11. Reginald Kumar says:

    Great resources
    Thank you so so much

  12. reeta says:


Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Two Ways to Be Your Own Savior and Lord at Ray Fowler .org
  2. Parable of the Prodigal Puppy at Ray Fowler .org

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